The death of Justice Antonin Scalia during a presidential election year has left a hole in the U.S. Supreme Court that President Barack Obama and his legal advisers will scramble to fill before Obama departs office.
Will an Asian/Pacific American (APA) be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia? That sure is one of our wishes for the new year. Given the demographics of the United States today — Asians were the fastest growing ethnic group in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — some believe it’s high time for APAs to get mentioned as possible candidates for the nation’s highest court — if not outright nominated.
Among the many names being thrown about, of note are two with APA heritage: Kamala D. Harris, 51, and Sri Srinivasan, 48.
Harris is currently California attorney general and is Black and Indian American, born in California. She is already in a race to succeed Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is retiring this year.
Srinivasan is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He is Indian American, born in India. Notably, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Of course, if we as a community, want an APA justice, it’s not enough to sit back and wait for the nomination to come in. We should take action.
So what can the community do to make sure that APAs are considered for the Supreme Court — if not in this next year, then in the future?
Nominees to the Supreme Court almost always come from the federal level, like the Court of Appeals or the U.S. District Court. It’s critical for APAs get into these positions so that they may someday be considered for a Supreme Court position.
Community members should contact their congressional representatives if they know of someone who ought to be considered for the Supreme Court. Find out if that attorney or judge has the appropriate qualifications for the job and an interest in constitutional law, as that’s what the person will be doing 24-7. Contact your local U.S. senator or representative and get that information to him or her.
Our responsibility also begins from day one, though. It’s important to encourage young APAs interested in law to go to law school and to consider public sector careers — we should encourage them to aspire to be judges. (end)